Greenland with representative at NATO HQ | Polarjournal
The new headquarters of the North Atlantic defense alliance in Brussels will soon be richer by a Greenlandic representative, although the island will not have its own representation. Image: NATO via Flickr

For some time now, the Greenlandic government has been advocating for a more active role in the defense of its territory. Until now, this has traditionally been with Denmark. However, Nuuk and Copenhagen had jointly decided some time ago that in the future decisions in any direction may only be taken with the involvement of Greenland. Now the two governments have made an important choice in security policy as far as Nato is concerned: Greenland is sending its own representative.

The Danish representation to the defense alliance will be joined by Lida Skifte Lennert, the Greenlandic government announced in a press release last Monday. She will join the rest of Denmark’s Foreign Ministry envoys in advising Nato on security policy and lending her expertise on Arctic conditions to the defense alliance. According to the government in Nuuk, she will also represent Greenlandic concerns and the special conditions of the island in Nato. “It is also important that NATO improves its understanding of the special conditions in our region and our society and is familiar with our interests, values and priorities,” the government wrote in its press release.

Lida Skifte Lennert (51) has an excellent reputation in Greenland’s international relations and is also no stranger to Brussels. Image: Arctic Circle via Flickr

The selected representative Lida Skifte Lennert is no stranger to Brussels. The lawyer and expert in international relations already worked as an embassy secretary from 2004 and as head of representation at the Greenlandic mission in the Belgian capital between 2009 and 2016. She also worked in the Office of Security Policy of the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the representation of the country’s interests in NATO and also headed the Greenlandic representation in Denmark for five years. Accordingly, she is looking forward to her new task. “This is an extremely exciting and challenging position and I look forward to participating in working with security challenges,” she tells Sermitisiaq newspaper.

The posting of Lida Skifte Lennert to NATO headquarters is a win-win situation for all three sides. For NATO, an expert from the Arctic is an important source when it comes to correctly assessing the conditions in the far north for an adequate security policy. This is especially true in view of the current geopolitical situation. After all, since Russia’s attack on Ukraine, the North Atlantic defense alliance has been focusing its attention particularly on its northern borders.

For Denmark, the deployment is a win-win because it allows the country to once again underscore its claim as an Arctic partner within Nato, while at the same time making a big step towards Greenland and still retaining supremacy in matters of defense and security policy. “The daily Greenlandic voice is both an extension and a strengthening of the defense of the Kingdom’s Arctic priorities within NATO in the cooperation of the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Denmark to NATO,” Lida Skifte Lennert says.

It is therefore important that Greenland improve its insight into security developments in the far north and NATO’s focus on the region

Vivian Motzfeldt, Minister of Foreign Affairs Greenland

And for Greenland, having its own representative is an important step toward reinforcing its special status in the defense alliance. Because according to the government in Nuuk, the security situation has also changed for Greenland since February 24, 2022. Even more so with the decision of the UN Shelf Commission to grant Russia’s claim to the area up to the North Pole. This means that Russia is practically on Greenland’s doorstep. “For Greenland and Naalakkersuisut (the government), this development will become increasingly important in the coming years. It is therefore important that Greenland improves its insight into security developments in the far north and NATO’s focus on the region,” says Greenland’s Foreign Minister Vivian Motzfeldt.

Dr Michael Wenger, PolarJournal

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